Summary: The Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 is about the cheapest dual-core laptop that you'll find, and it provides a predictably basic feature set, but boasts competitive performance, respectable battery life, and zero bloatware.
Pros: Sturdy design; competitive dual-core performance for the price; decent battery life; hard drive devoid of bloatware.
Cons: Bulkier and heavier than other 15.6-inch laptops; shortened spacebar and nonrecessed touch pad present some input challenges; so-so audio output; low-resolution Webcam.
Summary: For a price just north of Netbook territory, Toshiba's chunky 15.6-inch Satellite L505D-S5965 has a solid, but uninspiring, selection of specs that at least won't hinder your basic computing needs.
Pros: Features a dual-core processor for a very aggressive, entry-level price.
Cons: Unattractive, bulky design; missing useful features such as Bluetooth or a Webcam.
Summary: Even for users with basic needs, the Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 is a little too basic. Yes, it costs just $529 through Best Buy, but for just a bit more you can get the $599 HP G62t or Gateway NV5934u, both of which offer much better performance and battery life. If you like the Toshiba brand, spend the extra $50 to get the Core i3 version of this notebook (the L505-GS6002), which will future-proof your investment.
Summary: The Toshiba Satellite L505-S5966 should fit most users' basic needs, and at $549, it represents a pretty good bargain. Some may prefer the $499 Dell Inspiron 15, which lasts an hour longer on a charge. But the L505 delvers a more stylish design and a larger hard drive (320GB vs. 250GB) for just a bit more money.